Recently, it leaked that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would be getting an SNK DLC character, even though conflicting leaks suggested that Ninja Gaiden's Ryu Hyubasa would be the fourth DLC character. The former was proven to be true at the September 4 Nintendo Direct when Nintendo revealed that Terry Bogard, the poster character for Fatal Fury and King of Fighters, was joining the fight.
That's not to say that all of the questions were answered, however. Nintendo revealed that his release window was sometime in November, at least giving players an idea there, but stopped short upon elaborating what else will be joining him. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC characters typically come with a variety of bonuses, one of which that couldn't be absolutely ruled out would be alternate forms beyond standard color variants.
For Terry Bogard, this poses the question of whether or not his "Cutie Terry" female form from SNK Heroines would appear in the game. Essentially,after being abducted and taken to another dimension, Terry becomes a girl in the aforementioned spin-off, and many are wondering if that form could appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It's good to note that it's not entirely without precedent.
Alternate Female Forms in SSBU
When selecting alternate costumes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, players are used to the standard color swap. For example, Kirby has gold, blue, hot pink, green, gray, orange, and purple variants. Yet, it doesn't end there. Olimar and Bowser, Jr., have full model swaps that change them into completely different characters. Hero's alternate costumes vary based on games in the Dragon Quest franchise, and characters like Mario, Piranha Plant, Wario, Link, Zero Suit Samus, Ridley, Ike, Isabelle, Little Mac, Shulk, Cloud, Bayonetta, and Joker all have different clothing styles.
Alongside these changes, there are also SSBU characters who change gender based on costume, namely Pikachu, Pokemon Trainer, Villager, Wii Fit Trainer, Robin, Corrin, and Inkling. Each has a variety of colors representing both male and female manifestations of the character. It's worth noting that, in most cases, these are characters that could be one gender or the other outside of Smash Ultimate.
For example, Robin and Corrin are both playable characters from the Fire Emblem franchise, with both characters' appearance being dependent upon the player. They could be male, or they could be female. One exception to this is Pikachu, who has two alternate costumes based on female Pikachu designs (as seen by looking at their tail). Pikachu isn't a playable character in any main Pokemon series, meaning that player choice having an influence on who gets a female form isn't a determining factor in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
With this in mind, there is definitely precedent for Terry Bogard's female form to appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but there are other limiting factors to consider. For one, it's worth mentioning that SNK Heroines is a non-canonical spin-off fighting game, meaning it bears little weight on the overall franchise. The aforementioned characters with female forms are all canon characters or protagonists, which could throw a wrench into things.
On top of that, the fanbase around Cutie Terry is somewhat divided, so public reception could have something to do with this form's addition to Smash Ultimate. Many liked the surprise and approach to the character, as Bogard's persona was immediately recognizable, and it was a new take on the long-running franchise. But many also felt that it was oversexualized, which may have led to SNK Producer Yasuyuki Oda's statement that future appearances of Cutie Terry are unlikely. Since she hasn't appeared in a mainline entry either, fans shouldn't hold their breath to see her in King of Fighters 15.
Part of this is the lack of surprise since there's no longer the gender swap to fall back on, but it also likely has to do with the aforementioned division. Those who really like Cutie Terry actually really like the character, but those who do not like her simply do not like her. It's not certain that the conversation around the character design would have an impact on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it seems like it should.
Ultimately, it appears that the inclusion of Cutie Terry in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a genuine possibility. There's nothing in-game that would immediately rule out Cutie Terry from the game, but the non-canonical aspects of the character, as well as the conversation around her, would suggest that the safe route would be to forego her altogether. It remains to be seen which path the game takes, but with Terry Bogard's release date set for November, it seems we will learn sooner rather than later.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out now, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.